Skip to main content


Feature support#

FeatureLua 5.1Lua 5.2Lua 5.3LuaJIT
Missing featuresโŒโŒโŒโŒ
Bitwise operatorsโŒโœ”๏ธโœ”๏ธโœ”๏ธ
(everything else)โœ”๏ธโœ”๏ธโœ”๏ธโœ”๏ธ

Differences from JavaScript#

This project aims for both compilation results to have the same behavior as much as possible, but not at all costs. Since TypeScript is based on JavaScript it also inherited some of the quirks in JavaScript that are not present in Lua. This is where behavior between Lua and JavaScript compilation targets diverge. TypeScriptToLua aims to keep identical behavior as long as sane TypeScript is used: if JavaScript-specific quirks are used behavior might differ.

Below are some of the cases where resulting Lua intentionally behaves different from compiled JS.

Type-directed emit#

One of TypeScript's design goals is not using type information to affect program runtime behavior. Though this has many advantages (such as gradual typing), TypeScriptToLua uses type information extensively. This allows us to emit a much more optimized, portable, and correct Lua code.

Boolean coercion#

JavaScript and Lua differ in what they evaluate to true/false. TypeScriptToLua adheres to the Lua evaluations.

TypeScriptJavaScript behaviorLua behavior
NaNfalseโš ๏ธtrue
""falseโš ๏ธtrue
0falseโš ๏ธtrue
(Everything else)truetrue

Loose equality#

TypeScriptToLua makes no difference between == and === when compiling to Lua, treating all comparisons as strict (===).

Array Length#

Array.prototype.length is translated to Lua's # operator. Due to the way lists are implemented in Lua there can be differences between JavaScript's list.length and Lua's #list. The transpiler does not do anything to remedy these differences, so when working with lists, the transpiled Lua will use the standard Lua conventions. Generally speaking, the situation where these differences occur happen when adding/removing items to a list in a hacky way, or when setting list items to undefined/null.


Safe (no difference):

const myList = [1, 2, 3];
myList.splice(1, 1);
// myList.length == 2

Differences might occur:

const myList = [1, 2, 3];
myList[1] = undefined;
// myList.length == 1 (3 in JavaScript)
const myList = [1, 2, 3];
myList[4] = 5;
// myList.length == 3 (5 in JavaScript)

Key Iteration Order#

Even though iterating over object keys with for ... in does not guarantee order in either JavaScript or Lua. Therefore, the iteration order in JavaScript is likely different from the order in Lua.

Note: If a specific order is required, it is better to use ordered collections like lists instead.

Iterating an array with for ... in#

Not allowed.